Neighbour balks at ‘safe space’

2017-11-07 06:00

An objection to a land use departure, which would allow the City of Cape Town to create a “safe space” for street people, has caused a delay in rolling out the project.

The objection was received from a neighbouring property owner over the use of a site in the Culemborg area for the creation of a safe space for homeless people (“The bridge to homeless help”, People’s Post, 4 July).

City officials are currently planning a facility for temporary overnight accommodation for people living on the streets, which will also give them access to social services.

“The pilot site identified for this initiative is an area underneath the Culemborg bridge. It is currently zoned ‘transport zone 2’,” JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, previously told People’s Post.

The provision of a safe space will be a first point of contact for homeless people to access social services. It is aimed to be a temporary space to accommodate street people while a personal development and strategy plan or referral to a shelter can be put in place for the person.

The objection was lodged on the grounds of a possible increase in crime, as well as traffic and pedestrian safety concerns, confirms Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“A temporary land use departure was applied for, as the proposed use is not one of the permitted uses in terms of the current land use zone. Given the proposed temporary nature and design of the proposed facility, a temporary land use departure is the appropriate application,” he explains.

The objection to the application now requires the City to respond to the issues raised by the property owner, Herron adds.

“Thereafter a report will be written for tabling before the municipal planning tribunal for a decision. The process will take longer than would have been the case if there was no objection,” he says.

A land use application as well as a building plan application must first be approved before infrastructure for the safe space can be installed.

Smith says the opening of the safe space facility is now dependent on final approval of the planning application and the building plan.

There will also still be a tender process to appoint a service provider to manage the site. This should happen within the first quarter of next year.

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